Issues with my son

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by toughlovin, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    So as you may remember my son is in this wonderful program that is really dual diagnosis mental health and substance abuse. It is a different model than most.... he is in their outpatient program and they continue to work with them where they are even if they relapse etc...... so one of the things they do is that my son needs to check in with them regularly and if he doesnt they go to his apartment and check on him. This gives us a great deal of peace of mind.... given his drug use and at times suicide recently they showed up and he got mad and egged their car. Really this is the behavior of a 27 year old. HE did go and clean it up, but honestly I was rather disgusted and appalled. So the latest thing is he wants to set up a no tresspass order so they cant come over (wont work since myh husband is on the lease) and limit the amount of contact he has with them. We are not happy about this whole development.

    In other ways he seems to be doing well.... he has started classes..... seems to be sober (we hope). But he was supposed to see up tonight and blew us off so it is all kind of questionable.

    Clearly we need to have a conversation with him about it all. And I keep reminding myself that the last thing I want to do is to get into a power struggle with him over this. This is our pattern... I point out that we are paying rent, etc. (essentiallyh we are in control), he then escalates, I escalate, he escalates and we end up in a total power struggle and get no where. We have done this dance for years. I know I dont wnat to do this. I am learning.... of course in the middle of the conversation I am likely to get triggered and it all goes out the window because I get so frustrated.

    So I am trying to think about my bottom line.Basically what I think I am coming to..... is how much treatment he gets, how much therapy he gets, how much interaction day to day, how much support he gets is kind of up to him. I really dont think I can direct that. What I do need is that when we or they dont hear from him, and os are concerned about hi ssafety, they need to be able to check in with him... and if he doesnt respond they need to be able to go check on him. If they dont do that, it means we would have to callt the police to do a well being vheck on him which is a lot more traumatic for everyone. There is plenty of past reasons for us to want this.... things he has done to give us reasons for this.


  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    This is my first thought: He lets them check on him or you cut off the rent. For his safety and so he cant be in control. He is not your boss, so to speak, and as long as you pay, he has no choice. Also he isnt safe not being checked on in my opinion.

    Its not good when they control us...... unless we truly dont mind helping out even if they decide to not do anything asked of them. If you dont care what he does and are willing to pay rent anyway then you can do that. That is another option.

    I am guessing I would not allow my own child to get away with that on my dime and if he is sober the egg disaster doesn't show him in a very good light. That's very childish and its vandalism. The cops could have been called. I was tough on my daughter when she used.

    But we all can only do what we feel is right and can bear. And that is different for all.

    So these are my thoughts but there is no right or wrong answers. You need to be at peace. They are not the only ones who matter. We do too.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is so ridiculous I can't even believe it.
    I would not engage at all. There is no need to and you will just wade into the weeds, and he wins, when there is chaos.
    I don't know the legal ins and outs but if you know that your husband holds the trump card, there is is no need to get into it with your son.

    You know your bottom line:

    I would try to approach this in the most simplified and neutral way. Since your husband is the one on the lease, maybe he is the one to speak to your son.

    You are helping him financially, emotionally, morally. If he were to do such a ridiculous and hostile and disrespectful thing, it would undermine both the spirit of the program and it would take away the security you need. YOU NEED THIS. You are asking NOTHING from him.

    If he does not want to give respect, nor acknowledge the history in word and deed that gives rise to the need of the program and his parents for this kind of safety procedure, that is sad. But you require it. End of story.

    The thing is my worry is like your own. You don't want to set up a war, where each side ups the ante. But what is your choice. One of you needs to say something like, the safety checks are part of the program and they reassure us.

    That is entirely reasonable and non-confrontational.

    I would not go further with him. I would not try to convince him. I would not explain. I would not get into it with him.

    He needs to decide. He may even be coming up with this nonsense in order to both undermine the program, set up a situation where he can set up a war, leave in a huff, and blame you. Who knows?

    But the thing is, you can avoid stepping into whatever drama he may come up with either planned or unplanned.

    He will have to choose whether or not he wants to remain in the program or not. It's really not about the safety checks.

    You have no control. No matter how great a program this is, and how much you like it and want it for him, he will have to decide.

    I question why he wants to undermine this now, but this seems to be part of his M.O. He will have to overcome this, now, or at some point in the future. Better off that he do this now. That's why it's important you leave all of this in his hands, and not give him any reason to make it your fault.
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Thank you both. SWOT your reaction was my immediate reaction... hey we are paying dont let them come and check on you and we dont pay rent..... and I realized if I came at that way that we would totally get into control battle and he might very well walk away....which is not what I want nor what he wants either. It is in fact the bottom line really but I cant approach it that way..... I have to approach it more about what is going on that you are pushing them way like this, what is it that feels so intrusive yada yada yada. I need t listen to him and bite my tongue to some extent. And then I need to calmly share my concerns about his safety and somehow come from the caring lvoing place rather than the controlling place...... HArd to do.

    The egging of the car was incredibly childish..... I kept completely quiet on that one. I figured the program dealt directly with him on that one I didnt need to get invovled.... and dat least he did go and clean it up.

    I really think what is going on.... is that he has started to trust them in a way he hasnt before, and they have stuck with him like no other program has and in a sense they are getting too close and he is now pushing them away and pushing them away hard.It may be part of his process.... and maybe I just need to let that process happen.

    I am hoping that when we do have a conversation about it that he will agree to the checks on safety.... and basically if they text him and he responds they dont need to go out there.. they only go out there if he doesnt respond.... so it is them or the police.

    I am not sure when we will have this conversation.....
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Text it to him in as few words as possible.

    Let me explain my point of view and you can consider it or reject it :)

    I dont argue anymore. With anyone. Especially a person who will blow up. Nothing good comes of that.

    I believe "less is more."

    If you do overtalk, he will turn the conversation in circles and start abusing you .You are not a professional mental health worker and have no idea how to talk to a crazed adult who would egg a car at his age. None of us could know what to say that would be helpful in that situation and keep it rational.

    I would just go with a few short text messages if you do intend to take the rent away if he wont let the workers check on him. Trying to understand his point of view probably wont make sense. I doubt he understands his own self. He is very confused.

    Here is a grim thought. I apologize for even bringing it up. He may be back on drugs (the egg saga is so weird!). I truly hope he is not but you cant totally reject the possibility. If so talking to him is useless. But I will believe he is still clean.

    I handle difficult people these days with "less is more" and for me it has worked well and caused me less angst. Probably caused them less angst too.

    You decide what your bottom line is for you to financially support him.

    If there IS no bottom line that will cause you to pull your financial support, then you really have no leverage so what he chooses to do you just accept. Then it really is all up to him. In that case I would just let it go and pray. No texts. No point in getting emotional.

    My attitude is that action is more powerful and louder than a contentious conversation in which people get upset. Actions speak louder than words in my opinion. Consider this.

    Whatever you do, we care about you and your son. Our support is unconditional. Hugs and please accept a hot cup of Starbucks coffee and a blueberry muffin! Find peace tonight. This is not the worst thing ever. Nor the end of his story.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This makes sense to me, too.
    I think you are asking a lot of yourself. Maybe I am speaking from my own limits, but I get anxious just reading this. I do not even know whether I think it is in his interests that he have this kind of conversation with you. And I am unsure if I feel it is appropriate that you want to have this conversation with him. This is a conversation about motivations, conflicts, that I believe is the role of the treatment facility to have.
    Now. This part of it, I think is your terrain.
    I don't think you have a lot of choice here, because the process does happen, regardless of what we do.

    But what you are talking about is not stepping into it. Setting a boundary in the kindest and most subtle of ways, without getting his hackles up. And not baiting the bull with the red flag, let alone the little knives.

    What about this? I think you need to talk to the treatment facility about this and work it out with them.

    Isn't it really between your son and the facility?
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi TL

    TL. I am sorry this is so hard.
    I agree with TL. I think this will bait him. The more I think about it, the more I think referring him back to the treatment facility makes the most sense.
    I agree with this.
    This is possible, too.

    He may be paranoid. The egging is beyond inappropriate and immature. Why would he want to get so adversarial with the letter of trespass? This is not rational. That's one of the reasons I think this is better handled by the professionals. This is a treatment issue.
    I do not see the need to take action. You want him in treatment. You want that qualified professionals evaluate his behavior and respond. You want to empower them. You don't want to do something that inflames him or diverts attention to some dynamic between you and him. This is not the issue.

    This is a treatment issue. The facility will know how to handle this. There may be something that is fueling his behavior.

    I think I would call the treatment facility and let them know. I would not editorialize. I would just say something like this: My son is talking about a letter of trespass so that treatment staff can't come and check on him. I thought you should know.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Oh I totally think its best to let the treatmrnt center handle it. Anything less for us is a good thing. If he refuses to comply though then it is up to the one with the $$$ to either withdraw it or else decide not to and let things go on as they will and drop expectations.

    If we decide to refuse to support them, if they continue to refuse treaement, i do think we need to tell them and in my opinion less is more. A text is in my opinion less apt to erupt into an all out fight. And the parent has the option of not reading or responding to an abusive text. Or waiting a few days to respond or even read it. That way at least we semi control how far the anger can get. Or we can wait to answer until we are in a place that is good enough to deal with it. And we dont have to react. We can think first.

    Now if the rent will be paid regardless, then there is no reason to engage and the treatment center can try to change his mind. If he refuses this then police well checks are certainly an option.

    Its all about choices and I am strarting to see it is as much about our choices as theirs. In a way its like a sad game of chess. Who can.hold out the longest and steal the King.

    Copa while I agree with you, it depends on how the treatment facility reacts. Hopefully the parent can stay uninvolved and that the treatment center is not going to throw up its hands and say no more. This facility has been very patient so they very well may keep pushing on. I hope so.

    Personally I think the issue of being checked on would not matter so much unless things were going on that should not be. So I see this as a possible red flag and hope I am wrong.

    Wishing all those involved the very best.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  9. Your son seems to act like my 24 year old. The egg throwing from your son and my son texting the man who runs the IOP/Sober living awful things about wishing a deadly disease on his family. I have no clue what is wrong with my son. I stopped communicating with him. If he texts me I will answer short but that is all. I am done trying to help. Like he said "I am an adult and can make my own decisions. No one will tell me I have to stay in IOP. I will do what I want".... Yep, go for it now. So much for the text a few weeks ago saying "I need to have support around me, I need to be in sober living or I will die"
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I so agree with this. I think this whole forum boils down to this (and parents trying to survive).
    We are all in agreement with this. But the thing is, this goes with the territory. He has hung on for a while with this program because they have held on. The treatment facility with their lack of rigidity, their patience with him, their lack of black and white thinking, their support, not personalizing things, has modeled for us, how to respond, to these adult children.

    With my own son, when the situation moves closer to his coming back, (and I want this), my stomach gets tight, and the pain starts, and with that, the panic, and I become fearful. How will I do this? This, the facility does not have. They are not parents. They are helpers. But still, I believe that what we are striving for is just this neutrality.

    I agree with SWOT that texts (while I don't much like them) do help us cut to the chase and not react AS personality to hurtful and peripheral craziness; our own or theirs.
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    This is a good program but Son has not changed, and balks at the important, sensible rules he must follow to truly heal.

    Even.the greatest program cant make another change.

    I do feel drugs are still involved.

    Until he is ready to live a saner life, and one can be a dry addict, there is nothing Mom or the peogram can do. He seems to be hiding under the ruse of checking to make sure he is okay to being an intrusion. I worry much is going on that he doesnt want anyone to know about. Why else would he mind opening the door?

    I aure hope he turns around but so far he is still acting like a drug adfict. And an immature or drugged person or both. Just a very sad fact that I wish I did not need to pount out but I dont want Mom to be unaware of possibilities. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. Many of us swim in Denial.

    His recovery will come when HE decides to change. I dont see him on the right track yet and if he were mine I would cut the rent. Period. My daughter had it rough and miserable and I cried for her always, but she quit. Even quit danged cigarettes!! We gave her NO money
    She got a job.

    Will this mehod work for all? No. Definitely NO! But unless one is rich, why spend money that will likely not help, that we need? Our difficult kids will not be there to care for us if we blow our retirement. We need our own nest egg.

    This is a personal decision that we must sit with and decide upon. It doesn't need to be decided right away.

    There is no right or wrong answer. We are here to suppirt all decisicions.

    Much love and hugs.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think changing is a process. He can't have escaped the awareness that here it is months later and he is still there. Still in the mix. That causes panic on some level and ALL of us will regress a bit when we are afraid, and we will act out. This is acting out:
    I recognize this is extreme. But remember these guys do not have much self-awareness; nor do they have self-control. And they blame everybody but themselves for their pickle.

    I am reading a lot about a certain sect of the ultra-religious of a certain faith who go to on pilgrimages to another country to worship at the grave of the founder of the faith. These are extremely devout men who dress in garb in such a way that is very recognizable and associated with the devoutness.

    And what do some of them do as soon as they arise at the destination of their pilgrimage? They bed down with prostitutes. And this holy destination has become a hub for pimps.

    Because this faith is focused upon supporting the process of changing, there is no over-reaction in terms of labeling these men who stray or forcing them in a corner. But they have put into the mix "modesty police" to attempt to keep these guys out of the trouble that they seek.

    This is human nature. We can want more than one thing at a time. Usually we do. While I am quite concerned about these guys, I do think it is part of the process of changing. One day at a time. I am very hopeful that each of these guys can find their strength, and higher purpose. As I am hopeful for myself, and my own son, every day.
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I see it differently. When they are ready I think it is usually dramatic changes quite fast. I do t think baby steps mean much and he hasnt even made those.

    At some time we wake up or not. Some are addicts forever. Sad truth. My sister's brother in law was a lifetime alcoholic who was given all the support and love and rehabs and finances possible but he never quit and passed in his 50s. Young 50s. Cirrochos I believe. Not sure.

    Bany steps are in my opinion okay for wayward 18 year olds. They have so much time. The older the person, the more the damage.

    Can he do it?

    Anyone can and many do. But they have to wake up and do it.

    I sincerely hope he awakens, as Kathys daughter did, as RNs son did, as Love MySon did, as Patriots Daughter did as my daughter did. I will pray for it with all I have. My realistic mind tells me that he MUST wake uo soon so his body and mind heal. He is not close yet. But it can change to an awakening very fast! Often it does. Something can trigger getting sober.

    Copa your son is not an alcoholic or meth addict. Big difference! Pot wont.kill him.

    Love and life.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  14. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all your thoughts and responses. I am definitely in touch and communicating with the program. We may end up having a meeting with him and the program to talk about this....and that may be the way to go which may be the best way to go. I agree with Copa.... I dont really need to get into his motivations etc..... I think what I was trying to say was I need to listen more to where he is at rather than coming at it from a “laying down the law” attitude which has never worked. He and I get into these power struggles and that is what I want to avoid.

    The whole egging of the car thing was weird. On the one hand it didnt surprise me and on the other hand it was a wake up call in a way. This program is dual diagnosis and in many ways I have felt my son is more on the substance abuse end of things than the mental health end of many of their clients..... but really what 27 year old gets mad and something and so eggs the car? To me that is just not normal behavior, even for a drug addict. I dont think deciding he doesnt like the intrusion of people checking on his safety and so wanting a no tresspass order is normal either .... its like going to extremes. He is smart and goes to extremes. My son is functional in many ways but I think in some ways his thinking is off.... and his reactions to things are off.

    He may be back on drugs.... that is always a possibility. That has happened way too many times for me to discount that possibility.
    I also know that my son tends to be secretive and private on principal so it is hard to tell. He is also doing some good things.

    As long as my son stays involved with this program and they with him I am willing to pay rent....because they help give me peace of mind and I think they may save his life.....if he completely walks away from them then I will not pay rent and he will end up on the streets.

    And Trying I was going to respond to your other thread that yes my son does respond like your son in anger.....has for a long time. Has gotten himself into hot water by his reactions many times.
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    There is no telling when the waking up will occur. He could be very close or very far. Waking up could be one day away. Or it could never come.
    TL does not want to impose any of her own emotions, expectations, judgements, anxieties onto the process. I think this is wise. Let him stand alone, with support, not with "stuff." I see in myself that I will get anxious and afraid and I will impose all of this structure, expectation, desperation onto my son. When I think about it, all of that is about me. No wonder he sometimes responds to me as if I was some Dracula or Werewolf he has to defend against.

    However "right" we are doesn't matter.
    Great idea.
    This is very illuminating for me in terms of my own situation.

    I have been unable to clarify to myself just why I threw my son out. There was so much rigidity and desperation on my part. And so much vulnerability on the part of my son.

    By throwing him out, this turned the tables. For a short time I was empowered and he needy. Did I want that in the long-term? Absolutely not. When I finally settled in, it was worse for me, that he be vulnerable and I struggled emotionally.

    You see I have a hard time remembering it was about this simple thing: I could not give him safe harbor to hurt himself.

    Now. I understand that TL's son relapses to hard drugs and alcoholism. I get that. But to me the consumption of any substance or behavior, legal or not, that leads to dysfunction, being out of control, and suffering is the same. It's just on a continuum.

    I guess what I am saying is that what TL wrote helps me to better accept what I did.
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have said not everyone could or should make a child leave. I did it for two big reasons.

    1. Princess would have a roof over her head. It was not one of her choosing but I did not send her into the cold. Also I did not do it in anger....I dont feel we should do anything was carefully thought out and had much to do with my knowlege that she was capable pf quitting and that my two littles had to come first. We felt the best way for her to get her act together was to make her leave and force her to get a job. It worked. It doesnt work for all. My daughter never acted up like many here and she cared about herself and us.

    2. I believe pulling out financially is the best way to motivate wayward adults to function. So we did this because we felt it was best for my daughter to make her function.

    My daughter was never really terribly out of control toward us and she took cocaine, meth and other stuff. They are all different.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    But SWOT. You did not know if she would avail herself of the option of living with goneboy. Hindsight is 20/20. She could have left and chosen any number of dangerous and destructive options. There was no security that she would do the right thing for herself. That she did is a great blessing.

    But don't take away the great courage you showed to motivate and allow her to find her strength and to choose to do the right thing.
    Yes. But there were no guarantees.
  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Absolutely no guarantees. Thats why I say it doesnt always work. And yes we were lucky. We crossed our fingers and prayed. But she always showed common sense even on drugs. She finished beauty school with A's and always worked even while in high school while taking drugs and did not have a big mouth. So she was, I guess, a high.functioning drug addict (and it was a lot of drugs)
    But we felt the best action for her was to make her live without comfort and our money and didnt know if it would work but we took the chance. And lucked out. She woke up almost right away.

    But this does not mean it will be the same for another. For her it was the only way. She could not be at home, having drug rages, in front of the littles. Plus she needed to go to Illinois to leave her toxic friends and she cut them off! To this day she never has seen them again.

    Jumper has told us that her sister's addiction helped her decide to go into law enforcement and she has a compassipnate manner about her toward the addicts in jail. They like her very much at her job.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  19. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    It's normal to have a lot of extreme emotions in early recovery. However, he has to learn what actions are appropriate and what isn't.
  20. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Yes no guarantees. At this point I have no faith at all, and in fact a lot of fear that my son being on the streets with no support from us might be the end for him. The reason being is we have been there before..... we kicked him out of the house when he was 18. He lived with friends for awhile. Many things transpired including some rehabs along the way. After one relapse we said no more help and he was on his own... he lived on the streets for 3 months in the middle of winter in Denver. That had to be the worst time in my life. I was so worried about him. Eventually he called us quite sick and we got him a bus ticket to a friend in CA who got him into treatment. He did well for awhile. But I don’t think he would have been able to get a job on his own. He was living by panhandling and dumpster diving and with the help of a youth homeless program and who knows what else. He also has had the experience of really seeing the addiction in himself and wanting to get clean and going for help..... and getting sober because he wants it......but then relapsing..... So I am not sure with him that it is going to be a dramatic one time hit bottom shift. HE has hit some pretty rock bottoms....and eventually relapsed and graduated to heroin. So my fear at this point is that he will relapse and go so far down he wont come back.

    So our stand is and will continue to be we will help him as long as he is helping himself.....which admittedly he is a bit on the edge right now. He is doing some really good things right now with school etc.... but seems to be also pushing away help and that may very well be a red flag. Time will tell.

    But Copa you put it really well.... I cannot give him a safe harbor to hurt himself. I like the way you put that. So if he walks away from the program that is really providing a safety net for him (and us) then I can’t keep paying rent for him because then he really isnt doing anything to help himself. As long as he is involved with them, is engaging with them at some level I feel there is hope. If he stops doing that then I need to withdraw financial support.